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Marian Jongsma

In conversation with Marian

At the age of 53, Marian Jongsma suffered a brain haemorrhage, which marked a turning point in her life. Previously, she struggled with fears, which she tried to dampen with alcohol. 'I wanted to live, but my fears held me back. I threw the life I wanted to live into colorful embroidery.' After the brain haemorrhage she feels liberated. 'As I am now, I can now also color and embroider.'

Marian Jongsma has a great love for bright colors. Every day she creates abstract, fast drawings and slow embroideries, driven by an inner necessity. Her colorful works radiate a lot of energy and strength. Jongsma works intuitively and is guided by the color combinations that she spontaneously puts together during the first crosses with three threads of yarn. She believes that God gives her the colors.

Marian Jongsma talks to Martine Derks, visual artist, spiritual counselor, initiator of creative breeding ground SUNSET SALOON and groundbreaking modeling agency Candy Cloud.

Why do you embroider? Embroidery is not that important. Color is important. I prefer to color. I prefer to make combinations of colors that I have not seen before. It is surprising and unique every time. That gives me goosebumps like others might get when listening to a beautiful song. This exhibition also made me want to embroider again. Embroidery is the same as drawing on paper, only with fabric and thread. Embroidery takes longer. I don't like paint because it is not very precise. The tip of a felt-tip pen or needle and thread does. I like bantering.

How did you start embroidering? I started in 1996 when my child Beck was born. I did have some time left. My parents lived next door to us at the time. My mother loved to see me embroidering by the lamp as she did 's came home from her church choir in the evening. I remember how nice it was to embroider. So delicious in a circle and that circle then became smaller and smaller and smaller until it was done. Then I went to do the squares and the slashes.

The embroideries in the exhibition were created before your brain haemorrhage, at a time when your life was difficult. Yet there is enormous energy, power and color in it. I was fifty-three when I had my cerebral hemorrhage. I wasn't happy before that. I drank because I was afraid. Because I had so many fears, I felt like I was tied down. I wanted to live but I couldn't. I threw the life I wanted to live into embroidery. I still do that now, but now I live a happy life.

How do you start on an empty piece of embroidery fabric? That depends on what's in my head. Sometimes I see the center growing towards the outside. Or I see the outside growing into the inside. I have a box with ready-made wires in all kinds of colors. It's very easy: fate decides which color I embroider with. Often all I have to do is split it. I embroider with three of the six threads. Somehow the colors dissolve into each other.

 Is there something divine in your embroidery? I get the colors from the Lord Jesus, I'm sure. But if I take green twice, I say: 'That is not possible, Lord Jesus', and then I take another thread. Everything comes from above. That's nice to know. One believes and the other does not. If no one would see my embroidery, I would still do it. Making is the most important thing for me.

Interview with Marian Jongsma by Martine Derks, recorded by Kim Knoppers. Martine Derks is a visual artist, spiritual counselor, initiator of creative breeding ground SUNSET SALOON and groundbreaking modeling agency Candy Cloud. Kim Knoppers is an art historian and curator of D(R)AAD. About embroidery as protest and healing